Working odd hours in the restaurant industry, Carlo Espinas found himself always on the search for a spot that consistently offered great food and drinks from early afternoon to late night in a warm and lively environment. As Comstock Saloon’s Chef, he is excited to do just that. His menu includes the perfect bar snacks to complement cocktails as well as hearty entrees and desserts.
Born and raised in Fremont, California, Espinas first set his sights on a writing career and, after graduating in print journalism from the American University in Washington DC, worked as a freelancer in New York for a few years. Having worked in restaurants since he was 16, he soon realized that his true passion lies in the kitchen.
In 2004, he moved to San Francisco and enrolled in the California Culinary Academy. His externship with Incanto restaurant led to a full time line cook position after graduating in 2005. Here, Espinas says, Chef Chris Cosentino set his foundation for cooking – learning everything from practical skills to the importance of utilizing the whole animal and having seasonally changing menus.
Toward the end of 2006, Espinas joined Piccino Café in San Francisco as opening chef. His California-Italian influenced menu received praise from local and national press including the San Francisco Chronicle, Gourmet magazine and New York Times. After two years, he joined Camino restaurant in early 2009 as a line cook to gain experience from renowned Chef Russell Moore.
In February 2010, Espinas joined the Comstock Saloon team as Saloon Chef. Best described as turn-of-the-century saloon fare, the menu echoes Espinas’ commitment to a simple, rustic approach incorporating dishes influenced through his research of cookbooks from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. “Together with Jeff Hollinger and Jonny Raglin, we have conceptualized a menu that examines dishes of this time period and applies these traditions to our time,” says Espinas. His favorites include the Beef Shank and Bone Marrow Pot-Pie and Potted Pork with country ham, mustard and warm bread.
Espinas lives in San Francisco. He enjoys cooking for groups of friends at gatherings, teaching them tips and techniques along the way, and playing an intense game of table tennis.